Pleiotropy and charisma determine winners and losers in the REDD+ game: All biodiversity is not equal
Collins MB., Milner-Gulland EJ., Macdonald EA., Macdonald DW.
REDD+ may see billions of dollars paid to developing countries to improve forest management. This could potentially provide co-benefits for biodiversity conservation. Whilst this issue has been assessed several times in the existing literature, biodiversity itself has tended to be treated as homogenous. Here we propose a new framework in which to disaggregate and assess potential biodiversity beneficiaries of REDD+: pleiotropy and charisma. Pleiotropy describes the dependence of a species' conservation status on habitat loss alone. Pleiotropically-linked species are threatened principally by forest loss and are most likely to benefit from activities such as reduced deforestation. Non-pleiotropically-linked species are also threatened by other processes such as hunting, and will require extra funding outside REDD+ such as premium payments for their conservation. Charisma describes the degree to which species may be able to generate premiums. We consider that the incorporation of these two dimensions into the REDD+ debate will facilitate a more nuanced discussion of biodiversity co-benefits amongst researchers and other stakeholders than has so far been the norm. © M.B. Collins, E.J. Milner-Gulland, E.A. Macdonald and D.W. Macdonald.